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Better Guidance on Backup Type to Use


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New user experience #2:


My backup device is a fully supported DVD-writer (Panasonic LF-D521) that I have been using with Roxio Easy CDCreator V5.0 (with latest downloads to get what appears to be good DVD support). Since the hardware is a DVD-writer it would seem (from the documentation) that Retrospect is required to use the CD/DVD media selection for a backup set, which means writing directly to the drive using the Retrospect (6.5 Pro) drivers. However, due to the magic of DirectCD, I can also the configure the backup set to do either File or Drive backups.


In my "out-of-box" experience, it took a while for me to sort out using clean unformatted DVD-RW media (put it in after starting Retrospect so DirectCD doesn't grab it and cause Error 100-device rejected command messages) vs using DirectCD-formatted media and specify that Retrospect Ignore this device so it can use the drive as a removeable medium. (DVD-RAM, another option with this drive, also requires this technique.)


All this info is available, but not all in one place and in a context of interest to a new user! (I'm sure I've yet to find a few gotcha, but right now I'm content with my blissful ignorance.)


So, after figuring out what how to achieve these different approatches, I still need to decide which one to use. Ok, so I have two main options: use Retrospect drivers or use DirectCD drivers. The DirectCD drivers provide a much more natural approach (more compatible with other uses of the drive) and so are preferred by me. But what would an expert say?


Here's my decision tree:


1. does size of backup span multiple media?

Yes, use Retrospect drivers;

no, use DirectCD and either (Drive or File) backup.


2. do you want the local catalog stored on your local harddrive?

Yes, use Drive backup;

no, use file backup if you can live with the file size limit (for XP, it's 4GB, just about the size of the DVD).


Advice such as this would be useful in the documentation. (In the meantime, I would appreciate your comments on my reasoning. Is one backup type more robust than the other? Faster? Slower? Uses space better/worse? More suited for large backups?)

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It is likely you will find that DirectCD does not work layered with Retrospect, therefore you may not have option 2. For reliable backups in business setting, it is preferrable to remove directCD. When I initially started with optical writers, I found that the DirectCD packet writing appeared attractive, however I found that it will often conflict with data backup programs (and others) and I have discontinued it's use.


I would recommend that you to uninstall direct CD if you are going to use mainstream data backup software.

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